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Girl you need to know: Fashion illustrator Bonnie Brown

Bonnie Brown (H)

“My style is largely influenced by fashion and the female form”

We’re all about bringing you the best at Miss FQ and Bonnie Brown, the incredibly talented artist behind our monthly horoscopes, is one of the best illustrators there is. We sat down with and asked her a few questions about what it takes to make it, doing what you love.

When did you realise that you have a talent for illustrating?

I started putting my sketches on my Instagram for fun and began to get a really positive reaction to them. Because of this I was invited to take part in an illustration exhibition, and it was around this time I began to think about my sketches as more than just scribbles. I was working full time at an architecture firm which meant I was able to experiment more with my illustrations as I wasn’t relying on them to provide any form of income. Without this pressure I realised this was something I loved doing and it helped that I happened to be good at it too!

At what point did you decide you wanted to pursue this as a career? Did you study design or are you entirely self-taught?

I’ve always been creative but dismissed it as “just a hobby” – not thinking it was something I could ever pursue full time. The starving artist persona put me off and so I studied architecture, thinking it was a more reliable way to be creative. After a few internships and a full time year at an architecture firm I realised I wasn’t feeling entirely fulfilled creatively. I’m now going back to design school this year!

Bonnie Brown illustration 1

For illustration rookies (like us), how would you describe your style and technique?

My style is largely influenced by fashion and the female form. It’s definitely still a work in process, but thats part of what I love about it – it’s far from perfect. In terms of style my illustrations are minimal, leaving some work up to the viewer to fill in the blanks.

What do you do when you aren’t being Bonnie Brown, the artist – or is it your full time gig?

I’m currently studying full time, working part time and juggling my own freelance illustration work.

Who or what inspires your beautiful designs?

Strong women! With the current political climate in the States I think it’s important to showcase the female body in a positive light.

Bonnie Brown illustration 2

What is the coolest project you’ve worked on so far?

I’m currently working on a really exciting project that tackles the idea of consent, through design. I can’t say too much more yet, but it’s definitely a topic that needs to be discussed more and hopefully this project will do its own bit towards that.

And what would be your dream job?

I’d love to be my own #girlboss but collaborate heavily with other artists and designers through freelancing. It is a (ambitious) dream of mine to follow in the footsteps of fashion illustrators like René Gruau and Megan Hess and work with fashion houses such as Dior, Prada and Givenchy. Although I’ll try tackle work a little closer to home first

Bonnie Brown illustration 3

We love the horoscope illustrations you did for us at Miss FQ! What’s in the pipeline for you in 2017?

Thank you! I’m just going to keep on creating and hopefully grow my opportunities from there. I have a cool project lined up to coincide with NZ Fashion Week so keep an eye out for that. I’m also working on a project with a charity very close to my heart that will hopefully kick off soon! Aside from that I’ll be finishing up studying, working towards a solo exhibition and heading to NYC for Christmas.

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Photos & Illustrations: Bonnie Brown


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